ISTANBUL, Turkey – It wasn’t quite the final but Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) excited the crowd with his 50.71, World record semifinal swim in the 100m medley at the 2012 FINA Swimming World Championships. It was his second World record in Istanbul, Turkey at the Sinan Erdem Arena as he set the world record in the 200m medley Friday night.
Lochte came into the 100m medley semifinal as the top seed after his 51.75 morning swim. The five-time Olympic gold medalists jetted out to the front of the pack from the blocks and went a 22.84 through the back and breaststroke legs of the medley. His back-half 27.87 was the fastest in the field which stopped the clock at 50.71 and broke the three-year old World record mark of Slovenia’s Peter Mankoc (Dec. 12, 2009). Lochte will be joined in Friday’s final by teammate Conor Dwyer (Winnetka, Ill.) who qualified fifth in 52.74.
The women’s 4x100m free relay team of Megan Romano (St. Petersburg, Fla.), Jessica Hardy (Long Beach, Calif.), Lia Neal (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Allison Schmitt (Canton, Mich.) gave the U.S. another gold medal with a 3:31.01 win. The team found themselves in second at the 200-meter split but Neal and Schmitt caught up to the Australians and out-touched them by nearly two seconds. Australia came in second in 3:32.90 and Denmark finished third in 3:33.51.
Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill.) would give the U.S. another medal to their total haul by winning a silver medal in the 50m back. He finished in 23.17 while Australia’s Robert Hurley finished in 23.04 and came in first. Russia’s Stanislav Donets touched in 23.19 for the bronze medal.
Tom Shields (Huntington Beach, Calif.) bested his semifinal American record time in the 100m butterfly and posted a 22.46 for the bronze medal. Brazil’s Nicholas Santos went 22.22 for a Championship record and the gold medal as South Africa’s Chad Le Clos got silver in 22.26.
Hardy missed out on the podium in the 100m breast. Her time of 1:05.08 was good for fifth place. Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte swam a 1:03.52 for a Championship record.
In the women’s 200m medley final, Maya DiRado (Santa Rosa, Calif.) and Melanie Margalis (Clearwater, Fla.) would finish fifth and sixth, respectively. DiRado went 2:07.77 and Margalis swam a 2:08.63. China’s Ye Shiwan went 2:04.64 for a Championship record.
Advancing to the Sunday finals are Grevers and Jimmy Feigen (San Antonio, Texas) in the 100m free, Claire Donahue (Bowling Green, Ky.) and Kathleen Hersey (Atlanta, Ga.) in the 100m fly, Kevin Cordes (Naperville, Ill.) in the 50m breast, Christine Magnuson (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Olivia Smoliga (Glenview, Ill.) in the 50m back.